I got great response to the 27 year war posts on my blog. I sincerely appreciate all of you for that.
Again and again I see pictures of forts I have visited. I try to imagine how those forts must have looked like when they were in good shape. And I try to imagine people walking around there.
I see the garrisons being fortified and I see the gunners taking positions. I try to imagine their faces and expressions. I see that they were people just like us. Many of them had wives and kids and old parents waiting at home.
I am sure they must have questioned whether they were doing the right thing. I am sure they must have experienced fear and anxiety just like us.
They had no idea that they were going to win the war. Every piece of conventional wisdom told them otherwise. They were fighting an enemy almost eight times bigger than them.
But they did not run. They They had a legacy to protect. But far more importantly, they had a dream to pursue.
They took tremendous risk for what they believed was the right thing. The future for them was as uncertain as it is for us now. As much as we want to believe, the bravery was no guarantee for any soldier that he would walk out alive. One stray bullet could have ended his life story.
They had no idea if history will remember them or forget them. Indeed for the most part history forgot them. Most of their fellow countrymen never heard of their sacrifices.
I read through names after names and I wonder how those people must be like.
Take any random person from this history. Say Tungare brothers, Visoji and Lingoji, who, after king Rajaram’s escape to from Visahlgad to Jinji, carried the queen to Jinji across the same two forts.
Aurangjeb’s army was on full alert. They knew king had escaped and so they were extra cautious. Any small mistake could have meant a death sentence. Secretly carrying the queen about thousand two hundred kilometers in an hostile environment was a tremendous challenge.
Had they decided to forfeit their responsibility and simply walked to Aurangzeb’s camp and handed the queen to him, tremendous rewards and happy life awaited them.
They chose to take the risk.
What we don’t realize is how much we owe to people like Tungare brothers. The whole theme of Shivaji’s swaraj was local people’s rule. It is not surprising that the states liberated from the yokes of Mughal empire earliest, like Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Southern states, are in much better shape today than those governed by Mughal empire for long time.
Because those states were governed by the people that came from those states. A simple fact, but makes all the difference.
It is now up to us to protect this legacy and carry the torch ahead. Future is equally uncertain. But history has shown us that we are capable of achieving anything. And that some things need to be believed first to be seen.